It’s been an early start (who’s idea was 9am lectures anyway?!) and a very rainy, grey Wednesday. After struggling through my morning lectures, there were only two options in my mind that could improve this dull day: sleeping through and trying again tomorrow, or baking! And there was no better cure for my midweek blues than being back in the warm, after two amazing yoga classes, with the smell of deliciously-chocolatey fresh baked cookies filling the whole house.
These little guys were a true experiment! And I am so pleased with how they turned out, kind of like a bounty combined with a chocolate biscuit – dreamy. I wanted to work on using ratios of things like flour to fat to sweetener etc. Looking into my cupboard is like opening the door of the tardis, who knew so much stuff could fit onto 2 shelves? The gingerbread man cookie cutters had been staring at me for a while now, but I knew that a day like today called for some kind of chocolate-venture rather than the festive gingerbread vibe. That’s when I noticed the cacao powder and coconut flour and the cogs started turning!
Because I don’t buy dairy produce, my baking includes a lot of alternatives – like soya yogurt and coconut oil – but these can be replaced in my recipes with the dairy equivalents (natural yogurt/butter) if that’s what you’re in to! So here’s the final recipe for my rainy-day coconut & cacao cookies! They are dairy and gluten free and have the natural sweetness courtesy of pure maple syrup rather than the highly processed sugars commonly used in baking. A perfect way to get your comforting sweet-fix, without the guilt of munching through a whole pack of chocolate digestives. Of course feel free to alter any of the ingredients/quantities to experiment with your own taste and preference, but when it comes to the actual preparation stages I would advise following the instructions and not cutting corners. Which reminds me, if you don’t have cookie cutters – get creative and use the rim of a glass or maybe even cut your own shapes with a knife, extra points for effort! I rolled out the scrap edges of the dough and cut into a few straight pieces and Voila – chocolate fingers!
Coconut & Cacao Cut-out Cookies: (Makes around 10 little men!)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour (plus a sprinkle extra for rolling)
- 1 medium egg, whisked
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened but not hot (butter would work too!)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (you could also use honey, date syrup, coconut sugar etc)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 heaped tbsp cacao powder (coco would work but you may need to alter the amount!)
- a few pieces of dark chocolate, roughly chopped (to melt for decoration)
Combine the egg, oil and vanilla and whisk well until smoothly mixed. Add in the syrup and then, to a big bowl, combine the wet and dry ingredients until a batter forms. It will be thinner than a normal cookie dough – so at this point cover the top of the bowl with some cling film and place in the fridge until it hardens (mine took around half an hour). Then roll out the mix between two sheets of baking paper. Once it is flattened and no more than a centimeter thick, pop it in the freezer for 15/30 mins to really set – this makes it so much easier to shape with the cookie cutters! Now you can preheat the oven to 160/150°C (fan). Once you and your dough have had enough chill-out time, carefully cut out your shapes (admittedly this part was a bit tricky because of how quickly it gets sticky again – but bear with it!) and evenly space the little guys on to a lined baking tray. Bake for around 12 mins, keeping an eye on them as this may vary with the size & shape of your cookies! Take out the tray and leave the cookies to cool for quite a while, they will harden up as they lose heat. Then you can decorate, yay!
At this point it’s over to you, I topped mine with melted dark choc, sprinkles and a few marshmallows for buttons! But you could add nuts, dried fruit, desiccated coconut, icing, or anything else you fancy! I really hope you love these cleaner, delicious sweet treats as much as me and my housemates, and I would love to see pictures/ideas of you having a go at this recipe, and any alterations you would make – have fun with it!
Just a quick side note before I sign this one off, I can’t keep my eyes open for much longer! Easter is almost around the corner, and although for some this just means copious amounts of chocolate, for others it can be a stressful time of deadlines and upheaval – whichever it is for you, try and take a few moments of me-time in this busy week of yours. Sleep well, stay active and do something creative. Nourish yourself with foods that will make you stronger and happier, rather than processed junk that will just spike your energy levels for half an hour. After a few hours of staring at my lecture notes, something as simple as fruit & nut butter is all it takes to perk me up and keep me productive.
Have a lovely rest of the week!